NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The United Way of Greater New Haven kicked off its annual “week of caring” with a garden clean-up project Thursday morning.

It was all hands on deck in “The Hill” neighborhood of New Haven as volunteers tackled their third day of clean-up projects around the Elm City.

“It’s a couple different jobs,” Dennis Velasquez, the Greater New Haven volunteer manager, said. “It’s harvesting any remaining fruits and veggies that are still growing, it’s weeding, it’s spreading mulch.” 

With wheel brawls and pitchforks in hand, more than 15 volunteers came together to restore this garden in preparation for next year’s growing season.

One of those volunteers who believe in supporting community gardens is Tom Sansone, a local attorney who has volunteered with the United Way for 30 years.

” It allows people considered to be in ‘food deserts’ to support themselves with healthy produce and really good food and take an active role in producing that themselves,” Sansone said.

Gather New Haven is the group that manages this site, located behind Career High School on Ward Street. The site provides multiple benefits to surrounding residents, including the community garden, where people come and grow their own food. Plus, the farm side, where vegetables are grown and freely given to the community.

One member of Gather New Haven, Jonathon Savage, said, “Usually, it’s a question like, are those squash? I’m like, yes, would you like some squash, or ‘can I have some green tomatoes’ because I can’t find green tomatoes for frying anywhere”.

Yet, now, there will be a place to find them, giving this community a chance to make a healthy choice.